Introducing a Puppy to Your Older Dog: What to Expect

Lancaster Puppies
Puppy and adult Golden Retriever playing tug of war

The decision to add a second furry friend to your family is exciting, and many families hope that this new friend will be an instant companion for their adult dog. While this is often true, it is important to know how to introduce a puppy to your adult dogs so they can be lifelong friends. At Lancaster Puppies, we are dog people so we will be pulling from our personal experiences and some proven techniques to offer you a guide to introducing a puppy to your dog. 

How to Choose the Right Dog 

There are a lot of things to consider when you are picking a puppy to add to your family. It is important to assess your family's needs and the characteristics of your existing dog so you pick a breed that doesn’t clash with your dog or children. We have provided some key characteristics that you should consider as you choose the breed of your next dog. 

  • Size: If you have a small dog, introducing a large puppy to the family could cause injuries during playtime. Be sure to think about this dynamic as you are choosing your new puppy. 
  • Temperament: Is your dog a couch potato? Calmer dogs may grow annoyed with more energetic breeds. 
  • Sex: Many experts say that dogs of the opposite sex get along better. Dogs of the same sex can often compete with each other and get more jealous. 
  • Living Space: How big is your yard? Can your home accommodate a larger breed, in addition to the one you already have? 

Preparing Your Puppy for Your Home

As with all new puppies, they should be examined by a veterinarian before entering your home, and should be updated on their shots and vaccines. The core vaccines that you should be sure to update are below, but be sure to consult your veterinarian about what is best for your puppy.

  • Adenovirus (Canine Hepatitis)
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies

We also recommend getting your new puppy spayed or neutered as soon as possible. This can help protect against serious health problems and can reduce many behavioral problems, especially during their interactions with other animals. 

At Lancaster Puppies, all of our breeders have their puppies updated on their vaccinations and in most cases, come spayed or neutered. Also, many of our breeders have a health guarantee.  

How to Introduce a Puppy to Your Dog

Prepare Your Home

The first step in introducing a puppy to your dog is preparing your home for a new puppy. We recommend putting away all of your current dog’s favorite toys and items to avoid territorial behavior as the dogs get to know each other. We also recommend purchasing your puppy his or her own bed, food dishes, and toys to avoid early confrontation. 

If this is your first time bringing a puppy home, we have written up a guide for the first 48 hours with your puppy

Start in a Neutral Location

When introducing your dog to a puppy it is important to remember that your dog sees the house as his domain. Be sure to know both dog’s breeds and whether they have a tendency to be territorial with their home and family. It is for this reason that we recommend introducing your dogs in a neutral location to avoid protective behavior. This could be a local park, a friend’s fenced in yard, or any other low traffic location with no other dogs present. 

The First Introduction

We recommend keeping both dogs on a leash during the first introduction. This allows them the freedom to move and meet one another, and gives you the ability to intervene if aggressive behavior begins. Many owners have a tendency to hold the puppy and the older dog as they are introducing; don’t do this! This can make your older dog anxious and cause the introduction to go south. 

Bringing Your Puppy Home

When you finally bring your new furry family member home we suggest keeping both dogs on their leashes again. Even though they have already been introduced, this is the first time your adult dog is interacting with the puppy on their turf. For the first few interactions we recommend keeping them short, and always under your supervision. You don’t know how your older dog is going to react, and you will be there if aggressive behavior develops. 

Puppies aren’t the best at reading other dogs’ body language, so you may have to separate them if the puppy is trying to play and your older dog is obviously not into it. Below are some things you should be looking out for that could mean your dog is getting aggressive. 

  • Raised fur on the neck
  • Exposed teeth
  • Aggressive growling
  • Prickled ears

If possible, have a home base (separate rooms, for example) for each dog so that if playtime gets too rowdy or your adult dog is getting frustrated each dog has a safe place to return to.

Getting a new puppy is exciting, and if you follow these steps can create a lifelong friend for your adult dog. Don’t get frustrated, work on training your puppy, and watch the friendship blossom!

Our blog is filled with other helpful tips for dog owners that might help you in your new puppy journey, and give you some insight into which breed is best for you. When you are ready to look for your new puppy, find your furry friend on Lancaster Puppies today!

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